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The New Arab Man

The New Arab Man: Emergent Masculinities, Technologies, and Islam in the Middle East

Marcia C. Inhorn
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 424
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  • Book Info
    The New Arab Man
    Book Description:

    Middle Eastern Muslim men have been widely vilified as terrorists, religious zealots, and brutal oppressors of women.The New Arab Manchallenges these stereotypes with the stories of ordinary Middle Eastern men as they struggle to overcome infertility and childlessness through assisted reproduction.

    Drawing on two decades of ethnographic research across the Middle East with hundreds of men from a variety of social and religious backgrounds, Marcia Inhorn shows how the new Arab man is self-consciously rethinking the patriarchal masculinity of his forefathers and unseating received wisdoms. This is especially true in childless Middle Eastern marriages where, contrary to popular belief, infertility is more common among men than women. Inhorn captures the marital, moral, and material commitments of couples undergoing assisted reproduction, revealing how new technologies are transforming their lives and religious sensibilities. And she looks at the changing manhood of husbands who undertake transnational "egg quests"--set against the backdrop of war and economic uncertainty--out of devotion to the infertile wives they love.

    Trenchant and emotionally gripping,The New Arab Mantraces the emergence of new masculinities in the Middle East in the era of biotechnology.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-4262-9
    Subjects: Anthropology, Sociology, Health Sciences

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Figures
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. List of Tables
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Prologue: Hamza, My Infertile Driver
    (pp. xiii-xxiv)

    I was sitting in the back seat of a Mercedes sedan on a major highway heading south from Beirut, Lebanon. All of a sudden, my driver, Hamza,¹ put the car in reverse, literally backing up on the busy highway. “What are you doing, Hamza?!” I exclaimed in panic. “Don’t worry, Mrs. Marshella. I am just keeping us out of trouble.”

    I am an anthropologist, whose research career has been devoted to the study of the Middle East. Since September 11, 2001, I have traveled extensively to nine Middle Eastern countries, living in two of them, Lebanon and the United Arab...

  6. INTRODUCTION: Reconceiving Middle Eastern Manhood
    (pp. 1-36)

    This book is a tribute to Middle Eastern men such as Hamza, my driver in Lebanon, whose stories never make it to the front pages of theNew York Times, to flashing news bulletins on CNN, or to Academy Award–winning movies such asThe Hurt Locker. Hamza is an ordinary man, living through a millennial moment of political violence within the Middle East and between the Middle East and the West. That Hamza was willing to drive me, an American female anthropologist, through a post-9/11 world marked by increasing tension and bloodshed—much of it perpetrated by my own...

  7. Part I: Emergent Masculinities

    • CHAPTER 1 Hegemonic Masculinity
      (pp. 39-62)

      On a scorching summer day in 2007, I met Hisham in a blessedly air-conditioned IVF clinic in the United Arab Emirates. Hisham’s wife was having her eggs “harvested” under anesthesia, and so Hisham had time to kill and was more than happy to talk with an anthropologist. As I soon learned, Hisham hailed from the relatively poor country of Syria, where he was the oldest of six children. Like so many other young Syrian men, Hisham and his two brothers had all left the country, the brothers to the United States and Hisham to the Arab Gulf. Following an unpleasant...

    • CHAPTER 2 Infertile Subjectivities
      (pp. 63-90)

      While writing up notes in an IVF clinic waiting room one day, I found myself seated across from two men who were chatting amiably with each other. This was surprising, given that most men are quiet and tense—sometimes holding prayer beads—while waiting for their wives to emerge from the operating theater. Soon, one of the men left, leaving me alone with the other man, whose appearance was not typical for Lebanon. He had long, dark hair, slicked back with shiny pomade into a ponytail. He also wore a gray striped suit with a black shirt and no tie,...

    • CHAPTER 3 Love Stories
      (pp. 91-122)

      I met Hatem and Huda just as they were getting ready to leave the hospital in Beirut. But when I explained my research to them, Hatem seemed especially eager to join the study. Hatem and Huda were not Lebanese, having traveled from rural Syria to undergo a cycle of IVF in Lebanon’s capital city. Like most of the Syrian reproductive tourists whom I met in my study, Hatem was convinced that Lebanese IVF clinics were superior to the fledgling clinics in neighboring Syria, a Middle Eastern nation-state that has long been isolated from, and even sanctioned by, the West. Hatem...

    • CHAPTER 4 Consanguineous Connectivity
      (pp. 123-158)

      When I arrived in Beirut in January 2003, Abbas was the first man to volunteer for my study. As it turned out, he had lived in the United States for seven years, felt favorably toward America, and wanted to practice his English skills with an American anthropologist. That Abbas volunteered to participate proved to be an auspicious beginning for me in Lebanon. In our interview, which took place in both Arabic and broken English, Abbas proved to be a lively, even jolly interlocutor, who nonetheless wanted to share his deep heartache over aspects of his life that were beyond his...

  8. Part II: Islamic Masculinities

    • CHAPTER 5 Masturbation and Semen Collection
      (pp. 161-192)

      Spring was just around the corner in Michigan when I ventured to Dearborn, the so-called capital of Arab America, on a still cold and overcast day in May 2005. Each Monday and Friday afternoon, I attended an Arab-serving IVF satellite clinic in Dearborn, where I met many infertile immigrant men of Lebanese, Palestinian, Iraqi, and Yemeni background. On this day, the clinic staff said that someone had come to the clinic to meet me, after reading the study ad posted in the waiting area. This volunteer was Ali, and as I was soon to discover, he was a religiously trained...

    • CHAPTER 6 Islam and Assisted Reproduction
      (pp. 193-227)

      January in Dubai is a lovely time of year. The sun shines, but the winter temperatures are moderate, making it pleasant to be outdoors. It was on such a day in January 2007 when I met Ibrahim and his wife Nura outside the ultrasound scanning suite of an IVF clinic on the outskirts of Dubai. I was packing my bag to leave for the day, when Ibrahim approached me, having read my study advertisement placed on the waiting room tables. We made a tentative appointment to meet later in the month. But as soon as I stepped into the waiting...

    • CHAPTER 7 Sperm Donation and Adoption
      (pp. 228-261)

      When I met Hasan in a Beirut IVF clinic, his first words were, “I have suffered a lot in my life.” He launched into the harrowing tale of his capture by the Israelis in 1983 and his two-year detention in the notorious Khiam Prison (now a museum) during the Lebanese civil war. He was put in solitary confinement—“where you could not see day from night in some of the cells, and there were no toilets”—and forced to eat the same food, without any meat, for the length of his imprisonment. He was also tortured with electricity to his...

    • CHAPTER 8 Egg Donation and Emergence
      (pp. 262-298)

      Eyad is the only Middle Eastern man I have ever met whose specific diasporic dream was to emigrate to the American state of Wisconsin. Perhaps because of his unusual longing for the great dairy state, Eyad and I immediately bonded in the Beirut IVF clinic where I met him. Although I have not lived in Wisconsin for more than thirty years, I was born there, leaving only after I graduated from college. When Eyad told me that he hoped to one day reunite with an emigrant brother in a rural town outside of Milwaukee, I was touched. And, if it...

  9. CONCLUSION: Emergent Masculinities in the Middle East
    (pp. 299-318)

    On the day I began to write this conclusion, aNewsweekmagazine arrived on the stands. The cover attracted my attention. A little boy peers over the left shoulder of a muscular man, whose face cannot be seen, but whose back is bare. The headline shouts: “MAN UP! The Traditional Male Is an Endangered Species. It’s Time to Rethink Masculinity.” The second cover story advertised “The Tea Party Tempest.” Flipping through the actual magazine, I found a quote on the Qur’an burning that had threatened to take place on September 11, 2010, in Florida; an essay on “Our State of...

  10. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 319-324)
  11. Appendix: The Assisted Reproduction Fatwas
    (pp. 325-332)
  12. Glossary of Arabic Terms
    (pp. 333-336)
  13. Glossary of Medical Terms
    (pp. 337-344)
  14. Notes
    (pp. 345-362)
  15. References Cited
    (pp. 363-388)
  16. Index
    (pp. 389-404)